Trump deems houses of worship ‘essential’ amid pandemic and threatens to override governors

President Donald Trump listens during a briefing about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Thursday, April 16, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Donald Trump announced Friday that his administration is issuing guidance deeming places of worship “essential” operations during the coronavirus pandemic, threatening to “override” governors if their states did not follow the new federal recommendations.

“Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics essential, but have left our churches
and houses of worship. It’s not right. So I’m correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship
essential,” Trump said during his announcement at the White House.
The President said that at his direction, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will provide
the guidance.
Trump said he was calling upon governors to “allow churches and places of worship to open right now.”
“If there’s any question, they’re going to have to call me, but they’re not going to be successful in that
call,” Trump added.
“The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to
open right now, this weekend. If they don’t do it, I will override the governors,” he continued.
A senior administration official told CNN that the guidance had been initially delayed because some
officials believed the proposals were too detailed and would be impossible for churches and others to
achieve. There was also talk of putting out no guidance at all on religious services, but Trump had
conversations with CDC officials and urged them to issue something.
The White House coronavirus task force finalized the guidance during a meeting on Thursday, the
source said.
The President referred to the conversations with CDC officials on Thursday, telling participants and the
press at a listening session with African Americans, “I said, ‘You better put it out.’ “
“I spoke to CDC today about churches. We’ve got to get our churches open. We’ve got to get our
country open,” he said.( CNN / IM )
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